In the past, actually not so distant, it was common for some teachers to abuse their position of power in schools and to humiliate students, according to their discretion and desire, putting their arms crossed to hold a good pile of books, enduring a good blow with the rule in the hands for some mistake or carelessness, or some terrible and shameful donkey ears in front of the others.

Those methods that were used in the past did not, of course, enjoy the values that we consider essential today, such as respect, empathy or dignity. The simple fact of being an older person and enjoying a respectable status, as was the case of a teacher, already seemed to give proof of marque to be able to badly discipline children in an authoritarian way and, why not say so , something sinister and malevolent.

Over time those ways of acting were softened and relaxed , going around the seventies and eighties to perhaps some punishment facing the wall or some cheeks. It is difficult to write it, but the truth is that anyone who was born before the nineties is likely to be able to remember some humiliating situation of this type (their own or someone else’s) when thinking about their school stage, and it is frankly sad. Even if we close our eyes and concentrate, it is likely that more than one person can shake as before and feel that childhood discomfort, with the consequent bad memory of the teacher who carried out the malpractice .



But have we really learned not to humiliate students by the fact that that kind of authoritarianism is no longer used in classrooms?


How to prevent humiliation of students in the classroom

It is true that we all grow up and again end up in the position of those who taught us in other decades, stressed and dazed by childish and / or adolescent behaviors that are sometimes difficult to digest when one has gotten older, but this (what it is part of a logical and natural process) should not cause us to lose memory or perspective of what should and should not be.

There can be many reasons why a teacher (then and now) is tempted to take advantage of their position of power to exercise some punishment on a student , such as the despair that can be created before bad behavior, due to lack of confidence own, due to generalized and recurrent disrespect … But the truth is that the cause does not matter, because if getting older teaches us something, it is the need to never lose our bearings and to remain calm in the most difficult moments.

This means that it does not matter how bad a student’s behavior or level of disinterest may be, because even in these cases it is necessary to look for fair and didactic forms of discipline . In addition, it is precisely that position of power of the teacher that must serve to act positively, offering maximum confidence to the students and a security that cannot be seen fragmented in relation to behavior. For this reason, and when forces fail, it may be useful to consider the following guidelines that we describe below.



Guidelines to never fall into this type of negative practice


  • Never put a student in an embarrassing or embarrassing situation.
  • Always maintain communication with students, and keep it private when it comes to discussing behaviors or academic progress.
  • Make sure your students always understand exactly what you mean .
  • Avoid sarcasm, even if your students often laugh with it, as it can sometimes lead to misunderstandings.
  • Pay close attention to body language, as sometimes what a student says is not what they really feel. If a student shows nervousness, defensiveness, or some withdrawal, make sure everything is okay.
  • If you notice any sudden change in a student’s behavior, especially when it comes to absences, make sure as soon as possible that nothing harmful or dangerous is happening to them and contact the family.
  • Do not praise some students over others, since the level of work does not have to be the same in all. Praising some can lead to frustration for others and a general lack of expectations .
  • Treat all students equally. If a student gives an incorrect answer, don’t say things like, “Can someone help you?” Try to introduce other dynamics, such as suggesting the student who does not know the answer to ask for a wildcard and choose someone to ask a question.
  • Have discussions in which you openly talk about what they find humiliating or embarrassing when they are in class, as this will help you to draw a good map of the personalities and ways of being of the students to avoid unpleasant situations. It also tells about your own situations that you lived in the past that could be humiliating and how you solved them, since this will “humanize” you in the face of the students and will make them understand that you are a teacher who knows how to understand and empathize with others .




And above all, do not forget that all students deserve the right to feel safe and free from feelings as terrible as shame or humiliation because, when these axioms are broken, not only academic performance can be affected , but also confidence. in school and in people, being able to leave a bad memory that lasts for a lifetime.



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